I made my annual pilgrimage to Green Lake, Wisconsin over the weekend and had a remarkable time. This time, I even found great coffee.
For seven consecutive years I have flown into Chicago every September to spend a weekend with some of my esteemed colleagues I used to work with at Star Alliance. One of them, Denny, has a house on Green Lake and the weekend includes great food and drink, water sports, and most importantly, catching up on eachother’s lives.
All the usual elements were present this year. Moscow Mules and pizza from Lou Malnati’s upon arrival. A fish fry on Friday night. Fun out on the lake. Chicago-style hot dogs.
But this year I wanted to add one more element to the weekend: great coffee. Denny’s coffee is actually just fine, but just as I search for Mexican Food when I visit new places, I now also search for really great coffee.
Now Ripon, Wisconsin is a town of 7,800. I figured there would be a coffee shop there and I figured correctly. It was called Mugs Coffeehouse and was EXACTLY what I was looking for. The wood floors, plush couches, and fireplace was great. But the coffee was even better.
The fair trade Collectivo coffee was roasted in small batches and had a tremendous flavor. My cappuccinos were marvelous and I even brought a bag of Ethiopian beans home.
To be clear, I’m not calling small towns in America backwards in any way. However, I’ve visited 47 states including many small towns that dot American from sea to shining sea. Good coffee is rarely an issue in California or the Pacific Northwest, but can be elusive as you drive east.
But more and more I am seeing specialty coffee shops like Mug spring up in small town America. That should be celebrated.
Coffee is meant to be enjoyed in a comfortable venue, slowly, and in a real cup, not styrofoam or paper. Now I have another reason to look forward to returning to Green Lake each year!